Rollin' Empire - Nowhere to Run
Info: Released at the tail-end of 2015, Irish blues-rock three-piece Rollin' Empire have stamped a contemporary and current fusion of both genres on an old school rock blow-out that is debut album Nowhere to Run. Formed in 2014, the group consists of Stephen McGurrin (songwriter, vocals and guitar), Callum Condron (songwriter, bass guitar, keyboards) and Thomas Campbell (percussion, vocals). Close friends from childhood, the trio have many years experience playing together,this is very evident in the effortless ability to marry complex and distinctive melodies.
From the opening title track (above video) to the very end of Nowhere to Run, everything flows smoothly for the listener, the tempo of the drums and intent-filled guitar riff catapult you straight away into what the band are all about, no faffing about, we're here to rock and roll. The band's sound is very much steeped in late 80's early 90's rock, with front man and guitarist McGurrin intermittently calling forth Lars Ulrich on tracks like 'Long Way Down', a thoroughly enjoyable track that has a superb middle eight at the 2:15 mark.
Third track 'Nothing to Lose' has a Marilyn Manson style drum and bass sound, with an indie-esque chorus, Rollin' Empire evidence their claims of being a tight fit unit who have been playing alongside each other for some time, this could easily be a choice for a future single release. 'Head Over Ground' has some seriously enjoyable searing guitar solos, the musical equivalent of what white heat would look like, incandescent to say the least.
The acoustic intro on 'Bones' is heavy and sinister, again Metallica's Black Album briefly slips into your mind, there's a Seattle grunge feel to the track as well, in particular with the vocals. Anyone who has ever liked heavy rock music will love 'Take Down' and 'Trust Me', it's like the band took a secret rock template and arranged all of the mandatory requirements in their own image, the bass is notably enjoyable on both.
A track title like 'Darkside' can lead to all kinds of presumptions, and thankfully Nowhere to Run's finale contains all of the right ones, it also shows Rollin' Empire are expansive in how they think about song structure and their music in general. There are many successfully applied do's and don't's across the album without it sounding formulaic, and in 35 minutes they've knocked on the door and said 'Hello there, we have arrived, would one like to rock out perhaps?'. Yes please.
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